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Exercise Benefits Patients Being Treated For Cancer - Helps Ease Fatigue While Undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiation Treatments

July 9th 2006

Exercise Benefits Patients Being Treated For Cancer - Helps Ease Fatigue While Undergoing Chemotherapy or Radiation Treatments


Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia say that exercise can benefit some cancer patients who experience weight gain or loss, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.  Most of the cases studied required treatments that produced these side effects.  The exercise helped cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. 

They found that exercise improved the “physical functions” of patients currently or recently being treated for cancer.  Vicki Conn, associate dean of research and professor of nursing, said, “Improvement in physical function, such as the ability to climb a flight of stairs or walk a certain distance, is an important outcome because it greatly impacts patients with jobs and children. Exercise can reduce recovery time and help patients feel better as they deal with the side effects of cancer treatment." She led the team of researchers from MU's Sinclair School of Nursing.


The researchers also say that exercise benefits patient body composition, or percentage of body fat, while easing symptoms other than fatigue, such as pain, nausea and vomiting.  They found that there was a modest improvement in quality of life, mood and level of fatigue after exercise.

Conn added that "All patients should speak with their doctors before implementing any exercise regimen with cancer treatment.  Many patients over the age of 50 have other chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, which must be taken into consideration."

The study was published in the July issue of Supportive Care in Cancer.

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